Tensions rarely run higher on-screen than they do in the prison-break movie, in which characters doing time behind bars risk it all for a shot at freedom. Right now on the Criterion Channel, for our series Jailbreak!, we’ve rounded up eight of the most masterful takes on this nerve-racking suspense-film subgenre. Among these timeless cellblock-busters are the meticulously plotted POW escapes of Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion, Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17, and Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped; the hard-hitting noir of Anthony Mann’s Raw Deal and Jules Dassin’s Brute Force; and the dystopian vision of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, in which the urban jungle of Manhattan serves as a futuristic penal colony. For a taste of the taut, high-stakes drama on offer in our series—which, with Jacques Becker’s Le trou and Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law, also delves into the combustible group dynamics that can attend the pen-springing process—look no further than the teaser above.
A Touchstone of Contemporary Chinese Cinema Makes Its Streaming Premiere
One of the most acclaimed and ambitious feature debuts in recent memory, Hu Bo’s An Elephant Sitting Still is a testament to the power of personal filmmaking.
Within Earshot: A Conversation with Sorayos Prapapan
Informed by his background in sound design, the Thai director uses audio to explore the absurdities of an oppressive society in his short film Death of the Sound Man, now playing on the Criterion Channel.
The Dream Factory at Its Dreamiest
Now featured on the Criterion Channel, MGM’s greatest musicals are filled to the brim with some of the most indelible moments of movie magic ever committed to celluloid.